The National Communications Commission yesterday said it had invited CtiTV management to brief commission officials about the mistranslation of its interview with Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky, following hundreds of complaints over the news report.
The commission’s communication content department director, Jason Ho (何吉森), said it had received more than 200 complaints within two days after the TV station broadcast the story on Saturday.
“We have invited management at CtiTV to come and explain the matter,” Ho said.
“We will determine what to do next after our interview,” he added.
Last week, the Chinese-language China Times — part of Want Want China Times Group — ran a series of stories alleging that Taiwanese graduate student Lin Ting-an (林庭安) had deceived Chomsky into holding a placard that denounced “China’s black hands” in Taiwanese media.
In an interview conducted by CtiTV Washington bureau chief John Zang (臧國華), the MIT professor said he was misled by “my lack of ability to read Chinese” and still does not understand what the placard says.
Zang then said in a narration that Chomsky was aware that some people might use his comments to their own advantage. The narration was followed by a statement from Chomsky, in which he said that “it’s a conscious effort to misuse ... I find out about such cases so often.”
Zang followed Chomsky’s statement with a narration in Chinese saying that Chomsky would never have agreed to hold the placard for a photograph if he had known that it denounces China’s interference in Taiwan’s media.
“I could not have held it because I just don’t know, I mean what I know is I am against media monopoly and I’m in favor of the free press,” Chomsky said.
However, the segment provides no context for the statement.
Asked if he would have had reservations if had he known what the placard says, Chomsky responded: “I would not take part in anti-China or pro-China campaigns either. It’s not my business. That’s for Taiwanese to figure out.”
Zang concluded his story by saying that Chomsky would now ask a Taiwanese student at MIT to interpret for him if he was again requested to be photographed with a placard in Chinese.
“Chomsky also said that one cannot really prevent things like this from happening if someone meant to use you,” Zang says.
Members of the movement against media monopolization say the translation is not only completely inaccurate in most parts, but also skipped the part in which Chomsky said he opposed media monopolization.
In related news, the commission said it would unveil the draft of its act against media monopolization today.
A source in the commission said the new act would highlight the media’s responsibility to respond to requests for corrections from individuals mentioned in news stories and to protect the rights of media workers.
The act would also state restrictions on cross-media ownership.